Family tensions are getting too much!

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Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Shoppingtrolley » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:40 pm

I would love to hear your opinions and advice on my problem. Sorry it's a bit of a long story.

I live with my mum again after recently moving out of halls and back home. I have always been quite close to all my mums family and my grandparents and my uncle lives down the road from me and my mum.
My uncle is 50, has a bad back and is out of work so he has lived with my grandparents all his life. He likes gardening and finished my grandparents garden so he asked my mum years ago if he could sort out her garden as a hobbie. She agreed as she isn't really bothered about doing the garden herself.
Things were fine for years after that really, although my mum and uncle have never been that close they were getting along fine.

However, my mum works long hours and often works 6 or 7 days a week so she began to get annoyed when she would come home and my uncle would be sat in the garden doing nothing when she came home. She explained that she wasn't bothered if he wanted to come and do the garden, but would prefere if he wasn't there when she got home as she felt she was working so hard for the morgage so he could lounge around in our house and garden. As messages would often get passed through my grandma about this (which i thought was really daft) things got mixed up and misunderstood.

Things went on like this for a while, we would find the television on the sports channel and things moved in our house while we were out and messages continued to be sent through my grandma rather than face to face. It began to annoy my mum that he was there all the time while she had to work to pay for the morgage all the time, and it irritated me a bit that he would just sit outside rather than doing the garden. If he'd have just said he wanted a bit of peace and space away from my grandparents during the day and could he could round then and relax that would have been fine but he didn't. Our lovely neighbour even commented that he did a lot of crosswords and asked why he was here so much.

Eventually, my mum ended up tell my grandma to swop the key they had for our house as it was dodgy and was breaking our alarm. This was turned into a massive understanding and my uncle saw it as my mum trying to stop him coming to the house, banning him maybe. This made everything blow up and resulted in my grandma being caught in the middle of a big argument, again not done face to face but over texts and through my grandma! My uncle ended up coming to my mums house and ripping all the plants out of our garden and taking them to my grandmas. My mum was on holiday at the time and blamed my grandma partly when she got home, she argued that if an ex boyfriend of hers or anyone else had done that my grandma would have phoned the police. This made the close relationship between my mum and my grandma pretty much end and made them both very upset. My mum felt let down and my grandma felt a bit lost i think, she always says she is not good with confrontation. It's horrible as they used to be like best friends.

Meanwhile my uncle sent me a text while i was out asking if i was still talking to him basically and i didn't reply as i was busy, next thing i get two nasty texts listing all the things he's done for my mum over the years (some of which i know for a fact were not true) and saying if i want to take sides maybe i should get both sides of the story first. This really upset me as i used to be really close to my uncle when i was younger and was surprised he would even send me this. I still haven't recieved an apology for the texts and that was a couple of years ago. We don't really talk anymore as i feel hurt that he spoke to me like that rather than explaining to my face, and as he lives with my grandparents this makes it hard to go and see them as well which is also horrible.

All this has effected my mum loads and she says she doesn't feel like she has parents anymore which isn't great! She has tried to talk to my grandma about it all but she says my grandma just sticks up for my uncle and doesn't listen. So she now has told me that now i'm home she doesn't want me inviting my grandparents upto our house i have to go and see them down at their house.
My grandma has tried to talk to my mum, just in general really, and can't seem to think of how to say sorry or fix the problem. She is 70 and i feel that this is really upsetting her and making her ill, i've told her that she needs to do something drastic and that i will help if she needs it but she doesn't like confrontation and is afraid of making things worse.

I feel in the middle and it's horrible, especially as i am back at my mums house now.
When i see my mum i don't want to talk to her and feel really tense. I feel like i don't want her to know anything about my life and when she asks me a question i snap and just want to get out of the house. All this has really affected me but my mum is just carrying on like nothing has happened, although i'm sure she must realise that we are not getting on anymore. The only person i feel i can truely talk to and feel close to properly is my grandad (although we have always been really close)which makes me feel really upset.

I don't know how i can try to help the situation between my uncle and mum...but especially the tension between my mum and grandma. My grandma is getting old and i don't want her to die with all this going on as i know that my grandma and my mum would be devastated.
I also don't know why i feel so hostile towards my mum?

Would love to hear your honest opinions and advice, sorry it's such a long story!
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Bel Bel » Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:24 am

I think you should say to your mum "is this really worth fighting over still, grandma is old and one day she will die and you won't get the chance to have a relationship. You don't have to say sorry to each other just agree to differ but it's time to put this behind you"
You could also say the same to your grandma
Tel them both this is really affecting and upsetting you and lets hoep they both see some sense
Tell them you are happy to arrange a meeting in a mutual place, like a coffee shop and you will go with them the first time
Your grandma was in a awkward positiona nd had to continue to live with your uncle so it was diifciult for her to go against him
Don't let this ruin your reltionship with your mother or your creating the same history for yourself that your mum and grandma have
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Shoppingtrolley » Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:19 pm

Thank you very much, i can't think clearly i'm just so frustrated by it all!
Will try everything you've said!
Thanks again for your advice x
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby snail » Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:00 pm

Shoppingtrolley wrote:I feel like i don't want her to know anything about my life and when she asks me a question i snap and just want to get out of the house. All this has really affected me but my mum is just carrying on like nothing has happened, although i'm sure she must realise that we are not getting on anymore.


I don't think this bit has much to do with your uncle/grandparents. I think it's just that it's very difficult indeed to move back with your parents after being independent. You've gone from being an adult doing your own thing, to being back under your mum's eye. It's bound to feel a little irritating and claustrophobic.
These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.

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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Jackie » Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:45 am

Hi there,

I think if I was in your mum's position I might be the same. It sounds like your uncle has your grandparents twisted around his little finger, and I reckon your mum has been wise to this for years. She is probably the good daughter who is has sorted herself and made the transition to adulthood, unlike your uncle who sounds like ha has never grown up. Was he pampered as a child? It sometimes happens that the son or daughter who is the most problematic gets the most attention and nurturing, wheras the 'good' child is left more to fend for themselves, which is awful I think as we all need the love and the nurturing. As adults, it sounds like the same dynamic is happening, and it's pretty much a habit now that your grandparents defend yoour uncle to the hilt. This kind of thing kind of is happening in my family too: my sister has always been a drama queen and now at the age of 45 she's worse than ever and drinks a lot too. She has caused lots of strife in our family, but my Dad never confronts her, I think half of him is afraid to and the other half has just got into the habit of letting her away with it and not tackling her. WHich in turn sustains her bad behaviour. I on the other hand do an awful lot for him, but if I forget the tiniest thing he lets me know. My Dad is now 80, and I did hope for a while that this dynamic would change but it's so ingrained now that I can't see it changing. I was very angry about it, but I had to let it 'sgo and just look after myself.
What I'm saying is that I think your mum is really suffering and just wants her parents to be supportive of her and back her up. Your grandparents might be afraid of the consequences of confronting your uncle, and anyway as they are old it would prob be too stressful to even go there. I don't think that the situation will change unless your uncle is confronted, and it might just be a case of your mum accepting that. Could you try and get your mum to open up about it, and you could be a sympathetic ear, support? Sounds like she needs it. I think this might improve the relationship between you and her. I do agree with Snail though, you do need independence from family and to live your own life, it's hard to live with the parents when you have been away and got used to independence etc. Can you move somewhere nearby, and that way you can see your mum as much as you want, but still have the distance and perspective? These family dynamics are long established, all you can do is be supportive of your mum I think as her bad mood is coming from the nager she is feeling. It sounds that she is respectful of your realtionship with your grandparents which is a seperate thing to her, they're not your parents. It's probably too difficult to maintain a fake false interaction with them when your hurt inside.
Anyway I hope all that makes sense. Sorry for going on, I'm just fascinated by family dynamics! Let me know how you get on, and remember that you have to look after yourself!
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Shoppingtrolley » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:55 pm

BelBel - i am going shopping with my grandma on Tuesday so i will be able to have a good chat with her about it all and try the things you suggested, i think i am going to try and just be there for them both if they want to meet up like you suggested :) thank you!

Snail - i never though of it that way! Me and my mum are very similar and have always had a strange living relationship haha. It probably is just that! Thank you :)

Jackie - you pretty much hit the nail on the head there with everything you said! My mum has always been the independent one and she doesn't get as much support a lot of the time as they probably just assume that she's fine on her own. I do believe that my grandparents behaviour is just habit and its not meant nastily, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt my mum! My grandma is afraid of confronting my uncle as you said and thinks its too late now anyway, but i agree with you - i don't think it will be resolved until he is confronted. Although i don't think this ever happen!
I have been talking to my grandma more about it as she is old fashioned and will only talk to close family about it and my mum doesn't like talking about it at all really. Maybe i should be asking my mum more how she is!
As for moving away, i wish hehe. I'm 20 and still at uni though so i'll be moving into halls again in September which is something to look forward to. They are only a 40minutes bus ride away so i can be there for a chat if anyone needs it :)
Thank you very much, you didn't go on :D it's nice to hear that someone understands! I'm glad to hear that you have started looking after yourself, i am sure that people of your dad's generation (and my grandparents) are just stuck in their ways so to speak. I'm positive he really appreciates everything you do for him but probably just assumes you know this already, so he doesn't tell you! The way i see it, it's your sister who's wasting her life trying to get some attention while you are getting on with yours! Family dynamics are very interesting but really annoying sometimes! Haha.


Will let you all know how i get on :D
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Shoppingtrolley » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:58 pm

This problem STILL hasn't been sorted out!

VERY frustrating as it has stopped us all from doing things we want to do and upset us all in different ways!

My mum pretty much acts like she has no parents and it's like i've taken over the role of my grandparents daughter in a way, although i have always been close to them.

I am starting to think it will never get resolved :(
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Bel Bel » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:29 pm

The problem is it won't get resolved if people dig their heels in, and they all have

Forget the others becasue you can't make them do anything unless they want to and at the moment they clearly don't want to. I'm afraid it will take something major to happen before they either see sense or it escalates further.

What is upsetting you and what is it you feel you can't do because of it? Lets see if we can give you some creative solutions to a more peaceful life
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Shoppingtrolley » Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:34 am

You're right! I'm afraid that it's going to take my Grandma or Grandad dying before anything is done about it, and by then it will be too late anyway! I couldn't bare to think that my Grandma would die before it is all sorted out because it has broken her heart!

It stopped me having a 21st birthday party, well nothing really stopped me but no-one would have felt comfortable attending the party so i felt i couldn't have one.
My grandad wanted to renew his wedding vows and have a party as a surprise for my grandma, but he felt he couldn't do that! I told him he should have done it anyway and not let anyone spoil it but he replied "Yes but it's not the same without all your family there love" which upset us both!
I am closer to my Grandad than anyone and it's just really annoying that it's affecting us both as well as my Grandma and Mum! I can sort of forget about the things that are happening with my mum and grandma, because not much is happening anymore and my mum has pretty much said she doesn't have parents (which i think is annoying), it's the spin off's that affect me and my Grandad that frustrate me recently.

It has caused problems with my graduation, because my mum has sent my Grandma a text saying she would rather her and Grandad not go! This upset me the most because my Grandma and Grandad are like my second parents and my mum would know how much it means to me for them to be there. It would ruin my day if they weren't! After a lot of upset and palava they are now attending but it's going to be such an awkward day and I know none of them will enjoy it, probably including me!

I have moved back in with my mum after finishing University and she sent me a text before i moved back saying she didn't want my grandma or grandad in the house because she doesn't want me involved in all this?!! I honestly cannot understand how she could possibly think that I am not involved!
I had to bring a couch back in my Grandads car and could not get it upstairs alone, my Grandad said he would help me, so then i had to tell him he wasn't allowed in the house! Which was horrible! He just said he'd help me and if he gets shouted at then sod it basically, haha. We are all just getting so fed up with all the stubbornness that we're loosing respect for what people ask, well i certainly am!
It all makes me very angry, especially my mum!

My uncle also annoys me as he sent me that nasty text, has still not apologised and then says hello to me like nothing has happened! I just can't stand him!
He told me grandad that the reason we weren't talking was because he gave me a present and i didn't say thank you?! I have never been ungrateful for anything in my life to anyone! First i've heard of that anyway, i don't even remember him giving me a present! Just arghghghgh!
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby RagDoll » Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:21 am

I don't have time to type a long response, so apologies, but in a nut shell.. can you not tackle your Mum about this?

I know it sounds awful, but can't you lay a bit of a guilty trip on her and try make her realise that unless she backs down a bit, her parents are going to die at some point and any chance to make amends will be gone forever? I had some sympathy with your Mum when I read your original post, but it sounds like she's taken it way too far since e.g. the graduation thing is shocking - that's YOUR day, so surely it should be up to you who does and doesn't attend, not your Mother. Banning her parents from her house is also OTT, I know it's her choice, but I find it hard to imagine why she's taken this whole thing so far.

If I were you, by now I would be angry at my Mum for acting like such a child (sorry, but that's the way it comes across). Sometimes life is just too short to continue these kind of fudes. It's like she's trying to punish her parents and brother, but the only people she's really punishing with her behaviour is herself and you.

I know I sound like some sort of hippie, haha, but sometimes it's not about who is right and who is wrong, usually there is fault on both sides. There is a brilliant quote which says "out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field; I will meet you there". I think that says it all really. None of us are perfect and relationships are important, so is there no way your Mum can swallow her pride and extend some sort of olive branch to her parents?!

After saying I was going to keep this short, I've done a damn good job of rambling!!!
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Shoppingtrolley » Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:47 am

:D

I must be a hippie as well because that is the way i see it too! I am very much someone who is stubborn but will eventually agree to disagree! Whereas my mum is just plain stubborn! Obviously there is a lot more to it but everybody is just fed up with it now and i can't even remember properly why this all started and has escalated so much!
I love that quote, i might send it to her ha.

My mum has tried to talk to my grandma a few times and says she has tried to sort it out, but i have heard a few of these conversations and all she does is tell my grandma what she has done wrong and doesn't try to move forward! I think she just feels massively let down but from what i can tell she is being childish now, as you said. It feels like she is letting my Uncle win (so to speak) by not talking to my grandparents much.

I have tried to get her to forget it all and i have tried the angle of they might be gone soon if you don't resolve this! I have even asked what can my grandma do to make it better and she said she doesn't think she can. I could understand if it was something massive but this is all over a number of silly things (mostly to do with my trouble making Uncle, in fact ALL to do with him) that i think can be resolved!

Thats exactly my thinking, life is too short! Everyone else thinks the same thing, i found out that even my mums boyfriend has told her off for it and my boyfriend thinks its daft too!
With the graduation thing, she did say in the next text that it's my day not hers but that obviously wasn't the point and i wonder if she sent it just to make my grandma feel uncomfortable all of that day!
I will try and talk to her about it again when it comes up, she is out so often now that i don't really get chance to see her for long though! She's just hiding and running away from it now rather than facing it like a grown up. The fact is, all of this could have been avoided if my mum had just gone and spoken to my uncle directly in the first place instead of telling my grandma to pass on a message. Not saying it's all her fault at all, but maybe this is why she's reluctant to sort it out?!
I love my family loads, but they're hard work!!

Thank you :D
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Bel Bel » Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:55 am

I think you have to tell your mum if you want to invite your grandparents to any doo that you are holding that is your choice. If she doesn't like it she will just have to put her aside her bad feelings for the day if she has any decency as your mother. Be harsh in how you put it.
If she doesn't want you involved in the situation she has no right to dictate who you have at any function you hold.
I think you are playing into her hands by not having these parties.
If she chooses not to come it shows she is being immature and childish about the whole thing and you have to accept that is her choice but don't allow it to ruin anything you want to do. I know it's upsetting but why should you miss out because of her.
I think she probably won't miss out on these things
Tell her before hand you don't want any trouble at your graduation and if she so much as mutters a word the wrong way you will be very angry with her. Tell your grandma the same if you need to.
Your poor granddad is in the same position as you so at least you have each other
I like his attitude, let your mum shout at him, see he isn't letting her dictate what he does.

However your granddad didn't have his party and I think he should have. Maybe it could have been an opportunity for him to invite everyone.

Did you have the chat with your mum a while back asking her how she will feel if/when your grandma dies? Has she really thought through whether this silly feud is worth it?

Have you tried to get them both together and tell them both at the same time they are hurting you and your granddad with their behavior. Maybe embarrass them into making up.

I think if you do have another chat with your mum you need to tell her that her words are she doesn't want you to be involved but her behavior doesn't reflect that i.e. text to grandparents about graduation
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Shoppingtrolley » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:16 pm

Yeah i never thought of it like that, i will have a talk with her before graduation and try and tell her what i;m thinking!

I have to stress, she is not being malicious towards me or anything and if i'd have felt like i could have a 21st party she'd have loved to have attended. For me, that was more about my uncle ruining everyones day at that party! If anyone, it was him that stopped me having the party.
It's the same with my graduation, she would never ever think of not attending even if we had had an argument and has said to me that it will be a lovely day! I am not defending her, just stressing that it's my uncle that stops me from doing a lot of things more than my mum.

You're right though i have to stop letting everyone (mum/uncle) dictate things because of this argument and tell my mum or anyone else that it's my choice who i want to invite places etc.

I think that being a bit harsher with her is a good idea, i am usually like "Ok yes whatever" so maybe if i am a bit more firm about things then it will shock her a bit and make her realise the effect it's having on me.

I totally don't get the thing about my grandma and grandad not being allowed in the house either, it's like she's making a coccoon (sp?!) around herself so she doesn't have to face the problem.

I agree about my grandad having the party, he really wanted to renew his vows and then have the party, and if i was in his position i would have said sod everyone else i'll just do it! He said he didn't do it because my grandma would have been upset as no-one gets on in our family.

I have even had thoughts (this is horrible) that if my Uncle moved away or even (eeck) died then my grandma and mum would be ok again! Such an awful thing to think! Not something i am proud of at all!


I did have a chat with my mum about my grandparents dying and she said something like she knows but she can't see a way for it to be resolved, then if you say just go and talk to her/them she says she has tried! It's a big vicious circle!
I have also tried talking to them both while my gradnma came down to our house a few times ut that hasn't worked either! Urgh

Thanks for all your suggestions!
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Bel Bel » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:53 pm

If it's a case of leaving your uncle out then you just have to politely tell your grandparents your mum is more important than him and as you don't wnat any bad feeling he is the one you have to leave out
I think they will know what a difficult position your in
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Re: Family tensions are getting too much!

Postby Shoppingtrolley » Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:27 pm

Thanks very much, i'll see how all this goes!

Feeling more optimistic now, thanks! :)
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